Hosted by Poulton & Carleton Residents’ Association
Meeting held 9 May 2016
Summary of main points discussed, decisions and actions agreed
1. Welcome and Introductions
Lesley Middleton introduced herself and Bill Waller (Residents’ Association Chair and Vice-Chair respectively) and welcomed those present to the 19th Forum meeting.
Attendees: Approximately 120 members of the public plus Wyre Councillors Barry Birch, Colette Birch, Peter Gibson, Ron Greenhough, Lesley McKay, and Poulton’s Lancashire County Councillor, Alf Clempson. Apologies for absence received from some members of the public and from Councillor David Henderson.
There is approximately £160 in the Association’s bank account and consequently donations were not being sought to help meet the administration costs at present. Lesley thanked Martin Keighley and St Chads for making their venue available at no cost.
3. Alastair Thomas Vicarage Park Community Centre Update (Old Church Hall)
Alastair updated the meeting with the latest position. Three chartered surveyors have all provided a report stating the hall could be saved. The trustees have identified a specialist company who renovate buildings and are currently awaiting a quote from them. On receipt of the quote the Trustees will launch the local questionnaire and Alastair requested that everyone complete it either online or fill in and return by post. Unfortunately they are unable to seek lottery funding as the hall is not in an area of social deprivation. Publicity campaigns will then be launched in local media and fundraising activities organised. There is an information sheet available at the end of the meeting and Alastair asked everyone to take one. He thanked the Poulton in Bloom team for planting some lovely flowers at the side of the hall. The Annual General Meeting is at Singleton Hall on 20 May and everyone is welcome to attend. Lesley thanked Alastair for his talk and reminded everyone to collect the information sheet.
4. Local Government Finance – The Inside Story – Philippa Davies
Philippa gave a talk about the work of the Local Government Finance. The Council consists of 50 members and the Cabinet is made up of 6 Portfolio Holders who with the leader are responsible for the day to day decisions. The Council’s net expenditure for 2016/17 is 14.2 million – 6.6 million of this comes from Council Tax and 7.6 million comes from the Government. The council estimate what they need to spend and what income they expect to receive from the Government or from fees and charges such as market rents, planning fees and car parking. They then use this information to calculate the Council Tax requirements. The Government limit any increase in Council Tax by setting a referendum limit. In 2016/17 this was 2% but very late in the process this changed to a maximum increase for all shire districts of £5.
Business rates retention was introduced in April 2013 it allows councils to keep a proportion of the money they collect. Top ups and tariffs were introduced. The council aim to collect 28.6 million, Central Government take 50%, Wyre retain 40%, LCC 9% and Fire Services 1%, but up until this year a levy ensured that in effect the council only kept 20% of any additional rates income in the year.
The Government have promised a review. Central Government will no longer take their 50% and Local Government will retain 100% of the income. This means they will pass over additional responsibilities and are extending business rates reliefs. 2016/17 saw the first increase in Council Tax since 2010/11. Council Tax on average is 50p a day.
There were 51307 properties in Wyre at 30 November 2015 and not everyone pays the same rate and some have discounts. This results in the equivalent of 35277 at Band D or 6.5 million. An increase of £3.15 generated £111,000. The Grant has reduced from the Government.
The Council has made efficiencies e.g. they have retendered the waste collection service, introduced new ways of working and encouraged paying online. Staff reductions – now 334 full time staff, there was 466 9 years ago, giving salary savings of 3.7 million.
Spending pressures – inflation on contracts £126,000, pay award at 1% £113,000, auto-enrolment £116,000, reduced income at Fleetwood tip £135,000, new homes bonus only paid every 4 years £433,000 (14/15 award) £620,000 (15/16 award).
Green Waste. LCC previously paid a cost share allowance. Reduction is phased but the biggest impact is loss of income in 2018/19 of £978,000. Experiences at Pendle indicated take up of 30% – 7988 bins or £239,610. As at 8 May 2016 there has been a 68% take up with 18,136 bins generating £537,000.
The Council will hopefully make more efficiencies. Queensway surgery is interested in moving to the Civic Centre, hopefully followed by a pharmacy. Council Tax increase of £5.00 generates additional income of £60,000. Disposal of Garstang Business Centre saving running costs of £44,000. Further staffing review proposed savings of £188,000 and Business Rate Pool £416,000.
Philippa finished by saying she hoped the Forum had found her talk interesting and she had dispelled any myths.
5. Celebrating Poulton week and the Gala – Roger Critchley
Roger Critchley gave a presentation on the celebrating Poulton week and the gala that is scheduled for 28/5-2/6. On 28/5 there will be a local food market held outside Booths between 10 and 4pm. On 29/5 there will be a dog show by Guide Dogs for the Blind between 12 and 4pm in the Vicarage Park. On 30/5 there will be a local entrepreneur market. On 31/5 there will be a local children’s author in the library and the historic society will place pictures around the town. On 1/6 there will be a big tea party in the Methodist church and in the evening a fashion show organised by the owner of Kabuki and the Chaddeans will be providing the entertainment. On 2/6 Booths are holding an international market and the over 60’s club are having a lunchtime hotpot. On 3/6 there will be a bowling challenge between 11 and 4 and in the evening a games/quiz at the Breck Club. On 4/6 it’s gala day. Roger needs marshalls for the day so please contact him or Bill Waller if you can help. On 6/6 there is a Poulton churches together event at St Hilda’s, then the grand chill out at the Breck Club from 7pm. Roger thanked everyone for their support.
6. The work of the Guide Dogs for the Blind – Brenda Wildish
Brenda introduced the 2 Guide dogs she had brought with her. The idea for Guide dogs came out of the First World War. It grew in this part of the world in 1933 and the first one was in the Wirral in Cheshire.
For 40 years the charity used the old Church Hall in Poulton to raise funds through coffee mornings.
There are 28,000 people on the Fylde Coast with sight problems and 31 guide dogs in this area 26 in Blackpool, 3 in the Fylde and 2 in FY6.
There is a breeding centre in Leamington. 1200 puppies are born each year with litters of between 2 and 12 puppies. People volunteer to have the puppies in their homes until they are ready to be trained. They take them everywhere with them even to church. They have them for a year and teach the puppies a limited set of commands. Up until the age of 18 months the puppies are taught to use a harness. They come in different shapes and sizes. After the harness training if the puppies are suitable they will be taught traffic work. The owner’s safety is paramount and the dog is taught to learn to think ahead. If at 18-20 months the dog has remained calm it will be given a white harness. The dogs are assessed on a regular basis from birth.
A girl aged 12 who attends St Bedes School is being given a guide dog.
Brenda explained about the Guide Dogs day that will be held in the park as part of celebrating Poulton week, there will be lots of stalls and a dog show etc.
Lesley thanked Brenda for her interesting presentation.
7. Planning Updates
Peter Gibson confirmed the following:
7.1. Lockwood surgery has moved to the Civic Centre.
7.2. Moorland Road: application refused by the Planning Committee but re-submission due to be heard 7th June at 10 .a.m. in the Civic Centre. The public can attend. This application includes provision for a mini-roundabout at the junction of Breck Road and Moorland to which both WC and LCC object.
Objections should be sent to email@example.com quoting APP/U2370/W/15/3141166
7.3. Proposal of 130 houses off Holts lane has been referred by Councillors to the Planning Committee. This gives residents time to speak.
7.4. Aldi is progressing in the old Booths store.
7.5. Lidl is re-submitting an application.
7.6. Station Road: McCarthy & Stone will be on site soon and Redrow have started already.
7.7 60+ Community Centre has been offered a solution and Peter hopes they will accept.
7.8 LCC announced closures of libraries and children’s centres but Peter is happy to announce that Poulton library is remaining open.
7.9 Peter confirmed work had started at the old stables just over the bridge.
8.0 Carr Head lane has been agreed on appeal. The company have 3 years to make a start on the work.
8.1 Members of the public were unhappy with the pavements on Station Road and the council will look into this.
8.2 There will be improvements to the A585 and Highways England will attend the next Forum. To sign up for updates visit www.highways.gov.uk/a585windyharbour-skippool
9. Other Updates since Last Meeting – Alf Clempson
9.1. Confirmed had officers out on Carr Head Lane and would do the same with Holts Lane.
9.2 Bus to now go up to Highcross bringing people into Poulton. The council have been listening to the public.
9.3 Bus goes from Knott End to Poulton not Cleveleys and he will look into the possibility of this.
9.4 Really pleased library is staying open and will deliver more services through it.
9.5 Works to be completed on Ball Street and they will commence work during the night 12pm to 6am
9.6 There will be improvements to the drainage system on Breck Road with temporary lights.
9.7 New arrows to be painted on crossing at Blackpool Old Road – the council have listened to the public.
(Alf’s contact details are: email firstname.lastname@example.org , Mobile – 07983335630, and at his informal surgery in the New Penny Cafe between 10.00 and 12.00 on Saturdays.)
10 Any Other Business
10.1 Wyre is taking up assessment of impact of the Garden Waste Recyling.
10.2 Problems with pot holes on Chapel Street Alf will look into.
10.3 Complaints about the cafe at Stannah and the pathways – Alf will look into.
10.4 Carol from the Poulton in Bloom team asked for volunteers to water the flower barrels near Queensway. The Methodist Church has kindly agreed to supply water. Please see Carol if you can help.
11. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on TUESDAY 9th August 2016 in St Martin’s & St Hilda’s Church Hall.